Past Columns - Dan Cheron
Dan Cheron, Ph.D., Judge Baker Children’s Center / Harvard Medical School
Dan Cheron, Ph.D.
Assistant Director of Clinical Services
Center for Effective Child Therapy
Judge Baker Children’s Center / Harvard Medical School
1. What is your current occupation?
Ans - I currently split my time between two different positions. The majority of my time is spent as the Assistant Director of Clinical Services at the Center for Effective Child Therapy (CECT) at Judge Baker Children’s Center. In my remaining time, I work as the Director of Training at the Laboratory for Youth Mental Health at Harvard University.
2. Describe your role.
Ans - As the Assistant Director at CECT, I have been able to combine my interests in direct clinical work and professional training. I work with kids and families providing outpatient psychotherapy for anxiety, depression, and disruptive behavior. I also supervise predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees in their development of evidence-based therapeutic interventions. My time as the Director of Training in the research laboratory gives me the opportunity to disseminate evidence-based treatments to community mental health providers in the context of a large randomized trial.
3. How did you learn about your job?
Ans - The main way I learned about my job and moved forward in this career path was talking to as many professionals and getting as many diverse experiences as possible. Getting the perspective of psychologists doing a variety of professional activities helped me understand the different options out there...and there are a lot of different options!
4. What was the path that you took to get to your current position?
Ans - After completing my graduate classes, I found myself on internship at a community mental health center. The juxtaposition of my university-based graduate training and community mental health sparked my interest in helping to bridge the gap between these two settings. My postdoctoral fellowship allowed me to delve further into this work through efforts at dissemination and professional training, leading me to the two positions I currently hold.
5. Are you a member of Division 53? If so, how has being a member of Division 53 been helpful to you?
Ans - Yes. I have been a member of Division 53 since graduate school. It has always been a very helpful organization! The vibrant discussions on the listserv, opportunities to network at professional events, and the incredible amount of online resources that the division has been working on are all things I try to take advantage of regularly.
6. What is the most enjoyable aspect of your job? Why?
Ans - I have really been enjoying translating the skills and knowledge from the research literature into practical information for clients, trainees, and community providers. Bridging that gap between research and practice is exactly what excites me most.
7. What is a tough aspect of your job? How have you handled it?
Ans - I think managing the changing landscape of the profession has been especially difficult. From changes in research funding to challenges in the mental healthcare service field, finding a way to succeed professionally can be difficult. Although splitting my time between multiple positions can be challenging at times, I think it has helped me to gain diverse professional experiences and position myself to continue to grow professionally, no matter what happens in the future.
8. What is one thing that you wish you had known as a graduate student or post-doc/early career psychologist that would have helped you navigate your career?
Ans - Take advantage of every training opportunity you can in school! Whether it turns out to be a great experience or a trying one, every experience teaches you something about yourself and your profession. It also makes you a unique and adaptive professional, and being unique and adaptive will serve you well in the future.
9. What advice would you give to students who may be interested in doing what you do?
Ans - That perfect career doesn’t always advertise itself. Sometimes you need to piece together what excites you from a bunch of different sources. I ended up where I am now by having a lot of different experiences. Use your department faculty as well as the resources of your university and professional organizations to get lots of different experiences.
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